Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Electric 12-String: Look Through Any Window

Although The Hollies had eight Top 40 hits in the UK before releasing “Look through any Window,” it was their first US single to break the Top 40. Its entry into the hit category in the US stalled at #32 in 1965; however, it charted at #4 in the band’s homeland.

Just to stamp out any suspected favoritism I might have toward Rickenbacker guitars (although I have never owned a Rick of any configuration), today’s fourth installment of our second week special on  12-string electrics features a song that has a Vox guitar – a Phantom XII to be exact.

The Hollies’ lead guitarist, Tony Hicks, used a red Vox Phantom XII on the recording of “Look through any Window.” Hicks, who is an excellent musician on all manner of fretted instruments, doesn’t often get the credit which is due his great talent.

The pentangular shaped guitar was made in Italy for the British based Vox company and was the 12-string version of their Phantom six-string and bass models. The small bodied electric featured three single coil pick-ups reminiscent of a Fender Stratocaster. Like many guitars produced in secondary and tertiary markets, the Phantom models all carried a zero fret. Phantoms  were available in three colors: white, black, and red. All three configurations sported a white pick guard. 

As with many of The Hollies recordings, Alan Clarke sings lead and is joined by Graham Nash and Tony Hicks. Nash sings the high harmony parts while Hicks takes the lower harmony. Additionally, Clarke’s vocals are double tracked. “Look through any Window” was composed by Graham Gouldman and Charles Silverman. Gouldman would later be a member of the Mindbenders, 10cc, and Wax.

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